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Community Interest

Discover Bolton: 2023 Summit Series Challenge

There are many ways to discover Bolton, Massachusetts. There is the apple and peach picking at local orchards, the wine tasting at Nashoba Valley Winery, the farms with produce, flowers, and cider donuts, the unique shops on Main Street, the great coffee and food at the Bolton Bean, or the fun, food, and music of Slater’s

However, we’ll start this ‘Discover Bolton’ series with a great way to explore the natural beauty of Bolton, and potentially ‘win’ a hat featuring seven summits and an apple tree. 

While the hat may be a draw, the goal of the 2023 Summit Series Challenge, sponsored by the Bolton Conservation Trust and organized by the Bolton Trails Committee, is to compel people to get out and enjoy the area. The summit challenge involves self-guided maps that will have you traversing the back trails of the town.

The Bolton Trails Committee has created an Official Guide that lists the summits and starting locations. Here’s how it works: “This challenge requires the participants to reach the summit of seven of our hills, starting at designated trailheads,” notes the website. “Those who participate in this challenge, and fill out the Official Form, can earn a limited-edition hat as a token of appreciation.”  To ensure the appreciation goes to all ages, the hats come in adult and youth sizes. 

To explain this challenge: Director of the Bolton Conservation Trust and Bolton Trails Committee volunteer Drew Schaubhut, who is also a Bolton resident. In this ‘Discover Bolton’ Q&A, Schaubhut has details about the summits and ‘pro tips’ to make the most of your experience:

Describe your position with the Bolton Trails Committee and the Bolton Conservation Trust and what got you involved?

A: I’m a volunteer and part of the Steering Committee for the Bolton Trails Committee, and recently as of 2023 have joined the Bolton Conservation Trust as a Director. I started helping out with the Bolton Trails Committee shortly after I moved to Bolton in 2015. I enjoy hiking, mountain biking, and generally exploring new areas. Since I was using the trails in the town, I felt obligated to help by making them better. This includes planning and creating new trails in addition to maintaining (clearing and marking) the 45+ miles of trails in Bolton so others can enjoy them.

What motivated the Bolton Trails Committee to create this challenge?

A: We really just want more folks out enjoying their local trails. We wanted an achievable challenge that individuals or families could enjoy together.

Can you describe the highlights or interesting facts about each of the seven summits listed?

Wattaquadock Hill

A: Wattaquadock Hill is the highest point in Bolton. The true summit is on private land, but there is an old observation tower foundation with a USGS summit marker ON conservation land. See if you can find it.

Wattaquadock Hill is in the Welch Pond Conservation Area. Pictured: a beaver lodge. Photos courtesy: Bolton Trails Committee

North Peak 

A: North Peak is one of the highest points between Boston and Mt. Wachusett (in addition to Wattaquadock). This hike has the most elevation gain of any of the seven summits in the Summit Series Challenge. I’d recommended exploring the Vaughn Hills area, especially the trail directly to the east of the North Peak parallel to Bare Hill Road, and of course the beaver pond located just south of North Peak. You can probably see some herons and ospreys nesting in the dead trees within the pond depending on the time of year. The best chance is spring/summer.

North Peak is in the Vaughn Hills Conservation area.

Peach Hill

A: The true summit of Peach Hill is actually on private land in Berlin, but the highest point on conservation land is very close. The Fyfeshire Pond and Dam are always pleasant to walk by and enjoy the scenery. 

Pro Tip: Stop by afterward at Baba Sushi and The Legacy Kitchen for dine-in or take-out.

Peach Hill is in the Fyfeshire Conservation Area.

Powder House Hill 

A: Probably my favorite area, being such a large undisturbed area right in the middle of town. The summit is NOT at the Powder House historical building – where the town’s gunpowder supply was required to be stored when it was built in 1812. The summit is actually on the other side of the gas line toward the Quail Run Road trailhead.

Powder House Hill is in the Powder House Conservation Area.

Rattlesnake Hill 

A: There are no Rattlesnakes on Rattlesnake Hill. I repeat…There are no Rattlesnakes on Rattlesnake Hill. There may be a few mountain bikers and hikers, but definitely no rattlesnakes. There is a Wildflower Walk and an Ecology Walk (Bob Horton Trail) right out of the Lime Kiln entrance

Pro Tip: Stop by afterward at Slater’s or Bolton Spring Farm (in season) for dine-in or take-out.

Rattlesnake Hill is in the Rattlesnake Conservation Area.

Barrett’s Hill 

A: We don’t keep track of usage, but this is probably the least visited conservation in town. At the summit, if you follow the stone wall to the northwest, you will be rewarded with viewing arguably the largest maple tree in town.

Pro Tip: Take the more gradual route to the summit as indicated on the conservation area map. The alternative is a little shorter in length but very steep. 

Barrett’s Hill is in the Danforth Conservation Area.

Long Hill

A: The Annie Moore property is probably one of the most quintessential New England conservation areas, which includes long straight stone walls through areas including oak forests, wetlands, orchards, and farms. It’s the longest hike to reach a summit on the list, but also a fairly gradual walk to reach Annie Moore Road from Bolton Woods Way. The actual summit of Long Hill is on private land, but the trailhead at Annie Moore Road is pretty close.

Long Hill is in the Annie Moore Conservation Area.

What are the broad goals of this challenge? 

A: We are hoping to inspire more people to explore their community and get to know the vast network of conservation areas we have in this town. There are so many studies indicating the physical and mental health benefits of being outside and being active, that any way we could encourage our neighbors to get outside more will really benefit everyone.

Hikers take on North Peak in the Vaughn Hills Conservation Area.

How hard is it to complete this challenge and is there a deadline?

A: These are not overly challenging hikes, and can be done at any pace.  The trail surface can be rocky or have roots, which is very typical in New England. Some sections can be a little steep, as these are hikes up to the top of a hill, but the trails are designed for a majority of users to be able to walk on them, including kids. As long as you have some sturdy shoes (a.k.a. no flip-flops) you should be fine. My plan is to have my 6-year-old to complete this challenge if that helps others gauge the challenge level of these hikes.

What should people know if they are not regular hikers? 

A: It’s just a walk in the woods, but the best advice is to try to find someone who has done it before, including joining a guided walk that we try to do monthly, which can be found at:

REI has a good resource available at:

How can people get involved or help the Bolton Trails Committee and the Bolton Conservation Trust?

A: The Bolton Trails Committee is always looking for more help. We could use some more “trail adopters”, which are simply just people that walk certain trails regularly and report any issues they come across. We have a mailing list that we use to recruit help for work parties and special projects. The biggest need is getting more people to be project leaders on these conservation area improvement projects throughout town. The Bolton Conservation Trust is always looking for more people to help as well. 

For more information, reach out to:

Anything else you’d like to add? 

A: These public conservation lands are meant for the public to use and enjoy. I’d encourage everyone to take advantage of the great resources our town has to offer. Although our town does not have a lot of typical “services”, we are rich in publicly accessible land.

Limited edition adult and youth-sized hats go to those who complete the 2023 Summit Series Challenge.  If you look closely at the logo there are seven hills to indicate each of the peaks of the Summit Series Challenge.

Spring 2023 in Bolton, MA. (aerial taken above Colonial Candies on Sugar Road) Image courtesy: Ashok Ganguli Photography

Bolton Airport History: before tee times there were takeoffs

According to the Town of Bolton: “A single-runway airport, the Bolton Airport, opened in the southwest part of town in the mid-1930’s.”

Some describe it as being at the location of the Twin Springs golf course or off Wilder Road at the International Golf Club entrance. It was closely linked to an adjoining small Clinton airfield, which closed. The two airfields eventually seemed to merge and expand as the Bolton Airport (See Bolton Airport history below).

“The Bolton Airport continued to operate until 1951, largely as a flight school. By 1947 it had trained three hundred pilots under the G.I. Bill; it was also a base for the Civil Air Patrol,” notes the Town of Bolton website.

The YouTube video below—posted by Doug Ronan in 2012—has the following description: 

“Amazing old footage of flying at the Bolton Airport in Bolton, Mass and Tanner Hiller Airport in Barre, Mass in 1949.”

Bolton Airport history

The website “Abandoned and Little-Known Airports: Central Massachusetts” created by Paul Freeman in 1999 outlines the history of the airport and others. The following excerpts offer an overview (see the entire article for more on how the Bolton Airport expanded into Clinton): 

“After the end of WW2, activity at the field began to pick up, when Worcester industrialist Harry Kumpe formed Airports Inc. & rented the airfield. He hired Loran “Pappy” Malone to manage the field, who quickly became a father figure to the young student pilots at Bolton. The Haire Publishing Company’s 1945 Airport Directory (courtesy of Chris Kennedy) listed the Bolton Airport as being located 2.3 miles northeast of Clinton, and described the field as having two 1,900′ sod runways, oriented north/south & east/west.”

“At its peak (according to Jerry Mears, who flew at Bolton from 1946-49), approximately 25 aircraft called Bolton home. During the airport’s heyday its owners designed many expansion schemes. According to Randy Wilson (who learned to fly at Bolton), “They were calling it the Country Club of the Air. They had big plans.”

“Unfortunately, by the early 1950s, the “GI Bill” funding which had previously enabled much of the flight training business at Bolton had started to decline, and this resulted in a sharp decrease in flight training & aircraft sales. These factors, coupled with competition from other airports, caused the Bolton Airport to be officially closed in the Summer of 1951. However, a few local pilots continued to use the closed airfield for a little while. In a sad ending to the little airport, it had its only fatal accident after the field was closed: in 11/1/52, Brigham Mayo crashed while attempting to land at the abandoned airport.”

“In 1953 the airport land was sold to Albert Surprennant & George Forsberg, along with the adjacent Runaway Brook Country Club. Bolton Airport was evidently closed at some point between 1954-55, as it was no longer depicted on the May 1955 Boston Sectional Chart. Between 1955-58, the new owners of the property expanded the golf course onto the land formerly occupied by Bolton Airport.”

Origins of the airport video

The YouTube video poster notes that the video was ‘from Nate Mayo of Mayocraft in Bolton Mass.’ and that the film was shot by ‘Nate’s brother Brigham Mayo.”

According to the article above, Brigham Mayo died in an airfield crash in 1952. 

According to Nathan Mayo’s family as outlined in his 2018 obituary

“Nathan was a lifelong resident of Bolton. He carried on a rich family tradition of naval service, earned his wings as an officer and official naval aviator and flew off the deck of aircraft carriers. Nate began flying at age 15 and did not stop until his health prevented him from doing so. He worked for 28 years as a design engineer and machinist while still carrying on his love of flying and restoring airplanes. After working with the Collings Foundation in Stow, Nate established Mayocraft, Inc. in 1985 to dedicate himself fully to the design, construction and restoration of vintage aircraft.” 


For more information about Bolton’s history, visit the Bolton Historical Society‘s Facebook page and website.

Bolton Common Skating: Opening Day 2023 with Matt Savoie

Bravo to ice skater and former Olympian Matt Savoie and the Bolton Parks and Recreation Commission for the Opening Day of the Bolton Common skating rink.

Braving brutally cold temperatures which kept most people indoors, Savoie skated and some hardy families made it to the rink Saturday, February 4th. Despite the cold, the performance was great and there was a fire nearby. Here’s a look for those who couldn’t make it:

Organizers debated postponing the event to wait for more moderate temps. However, scheduling conflicts and forecasts for warm weather within a day of the planned opening made rescheduling difficult. About 24 hours after the opening, much of the ice had melted. 

Matt Savoie at the Olympics 

If you haven’t seen Matt Savoie skate a large rink, we’ve found U.S. Figure Skating performances – including videos from the Torino 2006 Olympics in Turin, Italy – that are a real joy to watch. Here are the Olympic free skate and short program videos. There are also videos from the 2006 U.S. Nationals and the 2006 Four Continents event. Those are just some you can find in a search. In short, Bolton is extremely lucky to have such talent in the vicinity!  

Looking ahead: will there be more skating this season?

The answer from Bolton Parks and Rec is: hopefully. “We still have about a month to work with,” notes Lisa Shepple of Parks and Rec, who points out that it’s based on whether temperatures dip low enough for a long enough period to re-freeze. 

Shepple says if there is an expected refreeze there may not be a lot of time to give advance notice. “It will probably be announced at the beginning of the week according to the weather forecasts,” she adds. 

Follow Bolton Parks and Recreation for updates and other upcoming plans through the spring and summer.

Rebuilding lives with Fresh Start Furniture Bank

If you have furniture and other household goods to donate, consider Fresh Start Furniture Bank, a non-profit organization in Hudson that helps local families.

Fresh Start Furniture Bank assists Massachusetts residents like the family pictured above who lost everything recently in a fire. The organization’s mission is to “restore hope, dignity, and stability in our community by recycling donated furniture and housewares, for free, to people in need.” The effort also helps keep potentially useful items out of landfills. So, it’s a win-win. 

In a recent Facebook post, Fresh Start Furniture Bank introduced the Cardona family. The post reads: “They are a family of 6 that recently arrived in the U.S. from Columbia and were all sleeping on the floor. The parents came from Pittsfield for help furnishing their apartment.  They left happy with a full truck and everything that they needed to start their new life. They sent this message, ‘Thank you very much!  Blessings to all!  We are very grateful for the beautiful work of your team!'”

How it works

Fresh Start Furniture Bank has created a store-like shopping experience. It’s not open to everyone. To receive furniture, an applicant receives a referral from a social service agency. That person or family then has 30 days to go to Fresh Start Furniture where a personal shopper helps select items. The goal is to have enough furniture and household goods to help all those who need assistance. Boston 25 News recently toured Fresh Start Furniture Bank and aired this report

How you can help

The organization has just one employee and the rest are volunteers who regularly put in 16,000 hours a year. There are many ways to help. Donating the type of furniture and household goods that are on the organization’s wish list is one way to help. Monetary donations are also greatly appreciated. 

There are times when weather or other circumstances cause a drop in donations. After last week’s cold weather, Fresh Start Furniture Bank is short on items. 

If you have something to donate, check their website to see if it’s accepted and review the drop-off days or inquire about possible pickup. Learn more at: and follow the organization on Facebook at:

Calling for Bolton Fair exhibitors!

From prize-winning produce to amazing pictures, quilts, and other specialty items, the Bolton Fair is calling for exhibitors. Here’s a message to the community from the Bolton Fair Exhibits Director Brenda Hoseason:

Brenda: Hello friends and neighbors! This year will mark the 139th Bolton Fair. One of the oldest traditions of the fair, along with the animals, is the Exhibit Hall. This is where local folks brought their food, flowers, baked goods, art, and sewing to be exhibited and judged for a small money prize. We still honor this tradition today at our small agricultural community event. Things have not changed too much in over a hundred plus years in the Exhibit area. We have added lots more categories to reflect the change in hobbies and interests.

I bet if you checked out this year’s exhibit guide on you would find something for everyone! Why not gather yourself and/or your family and pick a few things that interest you? Bring those items to the Lancaster Fairgrounds on Thursday, August 11th between 3 and 8 pm to enter your creation. It’s free and fun! We will leave your items on display all weekend for other fairgoers to enjoy. Read all rules and regs on the Exhibit hall pdf.

The fair is run entirely by a few volunteers and this year I could use some help to register the exhibits in the Exhibit Tent. If you are available for a few hours on Thursday, August 11th I need you! It’s an easy and fun job for individuals, a few friends, or make it a date night with your spouse! Any adults or high schoolers are welcome. Come get together and share some time with a few neighbors or make a new friend! Please contact me at for more info. Thanks so much and we will see you at the Fair!

Brenda Hoseason, Bolton Fair Exhibits Director.

Electric cars: charging ahead

Wouldn’t it be nice to bypass the gas stations, pull into your driveway, plug in your car, and have it ready each morning with a full charge? Better yet, what if solar panels on your roof were there to provide energy? 

With recent gas prices, an increasing number of Americans and people around the globe are re-thinking electric vehicles (EVs). If you own a hybrid car — even if it doesn’t plug in — you may have heard the trade-in value is exceptionally high. If you’re looking to buy a hybrid or electric vehicle, you may be on a waiting list. That’s because EVs not only save money on gas, but also get good driving reviews. All-electric vehicles typically require less regular maintenance according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

What’s it like to own one? And do solar panels really charge a car or two? We heard from a couple of local EV owners who outlined their experiences. We also heard about the upcoming  2022 Auto Innovation Show being held in Lancaster on July 20th. Here’s a look at what organizers have to say and how EVs are working for local residents. 

A hybrid Prius Prime charges from a regular electric outlet. Hybrid plug-in vehicles like this run on an electric battery and switch to gas automatically when the electric charge is used. The driving experience is comparable to regular gas engine-powered cars.

The Plug-in EV experience

“I bought two used EVs—a Ford CMax and a Chevy Volt—which get 45 miles on a charge and each cost less than $20,000 and are great cars,” says Lancaster resident Natascha Finnerty.  “My work has EV charging, so I am commuting from Lancaster to Cambridge guilt-free!” 

Finnerty is president of the Lancaster-based non-profit organization Nashoba Valley Climate Coalition (NVCC), which has the mission of reducing greenhouse gasses. The organization lobbies to create green energy policies, boosts awareness through events and partnerships, and encourages residents to do what they can to reduce energy use in the home, at work, and while in transit. Changes that reduce energy use can help the environment and the pocketbook. “I am going to start carpooling with a friend soon, since I do not need to use gas so I can help her save money,” adds Finnerty.

Finnerty’s 2017 Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid (pictured in front) is similar to other cars, but it gets about 50 miles on a single charge (range varies depending on the model, life of the battery, and driving conditions). Hybrids like this have a gas engine as a backup. Many newer models have a greater range on a single charge.

We have had a plug-in hybrid (Chevy Volt) since 2017,” notes Stow resident Rick Lent, who is a member of Sustainable Stow and is part of the leadership team of a local chapter of Elders Climate Action. Both organizations are committed to improving the environment. Lent emphasizes the practicality of EVs. 

“The battery lets you drive about 50 miles before it switches over to the gas engine,” says Lent. “We find that we do almost all of our driving on that battery and only need the gas engine on long drives.  About 90% of our driving is within that 60-mile range. I can even make it to Cambridge/Alewife. We have solar on our roof and so that can give us the energy we need to charge. However, we often charge at night so we aren’t using that source then.”

Even if you use most of your electricity at night, some power companies, including National Grid, offer solar net metering, which allows you to ‘export’ energy if you have a surplus. For instance, if your panels are generating a lot of energy during the day, but you use most of your energy at night, the amount you use at night is subtracted from what you’ve made during the day.  The National Grid net metering program results in a credit on your bill when you generate more than you use. This can dramatically reduce or eliminate your electricity bill. 

Not all power companies offer net metering. Lent, who lives in Stow, is part of Hudson Light and Power, which offers a solar rebate program instead. “Hudson Light credits our bill, which is low to begin with. I’ve had solar panels on my house in Stow since about 2014.”

Solar use apps allow you to track the amount the solar panels generate and compare that to how much you are using each day. Depending on how many panels you have, there is often an excess which can then be sold back to your electricity company, even if you’re charging an electric vehicle or two. 

If you have enough sun hitting your roof, a solar company can check your average energy bill to determine how many solar panels it will take to supply that amount of energy. There are various state and federal programs to reduce the cost of solar. There are also programs that encourage the purchase and use of battery storage systems that can help the power companies during peak summer use by having individuals or companies send in excess power being generated. These can also replace generators often used during storms when the power is out. 

When it comes to charging an EV at home, it’s simple. The existing outlets in your garage or house are enough to charge EVs. Special chargers are also available for speed charging. Similar to solar panels, there have been tax incentives to buy electric vehicles. In some cases, these include taking $7,500 tax credit and more incentives from the state, shaving the purchase price. 

Do EVs make a difference?

Some claim that EVs use electricity, which has to be generated from fossil fuels. It’s been a concern, but studies have shown that even if you don’t have a solar roof, EVs still come out ahead—leading to an overall reduction in greenhouse gas release. That’s because increasingly electricity is being generated by renewable sources. A recent article in Forbes helped break down the numbers. It focuses on a new study that shows that EVs help reduce greenhouse gasses in all but the most coal-reliant countries. That’s because most countries have diversified their energy production to include renewable energy sources. That applies locally as well. 

“I power my EV with solar, but if your house cannot support solar, people have the option to buy from community solar, and many towns are starting to offer 100% green energy in their town aggregation plans,” adds Finnerty.  

Local EVs in the spotlight

If you’d like to learn about EVs from local residents, the upcoming 2022 Auto Innovation Show, held in collaboration with NVCC, will feature a number of EVs—both hybrids that use both electricity and gas and the more fully electric vehicles. The show is being held Wednesday, July 20 at Kimball Farms Lancaster from 4:30 pm to 7 pm. If you drive in an EV or electric plug-in hybrid, you can enter a drawing for a $25 gift card. 

The shows can be helpful to those thinking about buying an EV because average residents who have used them—and aren’t trying to sell cars—are there to answer practical questions. During a past show, the conversations expanded to include electric lawnmowers, snow blowers, and what to think about when installing solar panels. 

Overall, the 2022 Auto Innovation Show gives you a chance to get under the hood of electric cars and ask questions from average motorists who have used them. “Once you drive an EV, even if it’s a hybrid, I don’t think you can go back to a gas-powered car,” adds Lent. “Our next car will be all-electric.”

Please comment below if you’d like more information. Allow time for us to ask the experts for a reply. Thanks!